The Spirit heads to West Memphis, Ark., and Jon smells the barbecue

April 18, 2018

Land Line Staff


Jon Osburn, skipper of the OOIDA touring tractor-trailer The Spirit of the American Trucker, enjoys talking to truckers everywhere, and that is great all by itself, but the trip to his next stop also holds the salivating prospects of good barbecue.

The Spirit is scheduled to be at Jerry Fritts Jr. West Memphis, Ark., Petro Stopping Center from April 19-21.

You can find the truck stop on Exit 280 off I-40 or on Exit 4 off I-55.

The West Memphis Petro is named for Jerry Fritts of Cordova, Tenn., an OOIDA life member who was named a 2014 Citizen Driver.

The TA and Petro Citizen Driver award recognizes drivers who earn public respect for our industry through good citizenship, safety, community involvement, health and wellness, and leadership.

A driver for 46 years when he was awarded the Citizen Driver accolade, Fritts has driven 5 million accident-free miles. He has been named to the Landstar Roadstar Hall of Fame. When a serious injury nearly ended his career, Jerry volunteered with the Red Cross while working on his recovery. After rehab, Jerry formed a trucking company and continues to be an active Red Cross volunteer.

En route, Jon vowed he would take time to stop at Interstate Bar-B-Que, which is as Exit 7 on I-55. The beef ribs are all that and more, he says.

At The Spirit’s last stop in Dodge City, Ala., north of Birmingham, Ala., Jon says there was a lot of discussion of the hours-of-service legislation backed by OOIDA and introduced by Rep. Brian Babin, R-Texas. The legislation eliminates the 30-minute break and instead gives truckers a break of up to three hours to use at their discretion.

The more truckers discuss it, the more they are seeing merit in it, Jon said. However, there is concern that truck drivers won’t be in charge of how those three hours are used, Jon reports.

“They are afraid that shippers and receivers will make them use their three hours at the dock,” Jon said, “when the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration clearly says you are supposed to be on duty when you’re at the dock.”

Whenever you see The Spirit tour truck, go say hello to Jon. He enjoys visiting about the Association’s activities and current issues. You also can join or renew your OOIDA membership for $10 off the regular price there. Also, you can get vouchers for flu, shingles and pneumonia vaccines from Jon at The Spirit.